Graphic: Authority still has to find £13m of savings from budget

Norfolk County Council's County Hall in Martineau Lane, Norwich.

Norfolk County Council's County Hall in Martineau Lane, Norwich. - Credit: Archant

The strain on Norfolk County Council's finances was laid bare at a meeting yesterday, at which it emerged that although the 'black hole' in its accounts for next year had been reduced, there was still £13m left to be found.

Click here to view the graphicThe authority's policy and resources committee heard that a lower-than-expected level of funding from central government had cancelled out earlier progress on reducing what it describes as its 'spending gap'.

At a meeting at the beginning of the month, the committee heard that the gap had been £17.5m –prompting efficiencies of £11.3m to be identified. However, funding of £8.2m under the government's Better Care Fund, rather than the anticipated £15m, has pushed the shortfall back to £13m.

Yesterday's meeting heard that the main pressures were on 'looked after' children, with a £1.7m potential overspend, and adult social care - with a £3.7m overspend.

Council Leader George Nobbs said: 'We went through a rigorous review of the council's services last year and consulted the public on saving £189m over three years (2015-18).

'This year the financial gap is consequently much smaller, but there is also less scope for further efficiencies and savings.


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'However, the good thing is that officers and councillors have come up with a practical set of proposals to meet the new target, which is caused by a further squeeze on councils by central government.'

The committee yesterday noted the £11.3m in savings, and agreed that departments should do everything possible this year to get their spending and savings back on course. But that would still leave £1.7m to be found, which service committees will try to share between departments.

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They are as follows: children's services, £310,000; adult social services. £395,000; cultural services, £105,000; environment, transport and development, £385,000; fire rescue, £95,000; resources and finance, £405,000.

The council has already found £69m in savings this year (2014 to 2015) and in February built £40m in savings into the budget for next year.

The budget development process can be followed on Norfolk County Council's website

The 2015/16 budget will be set by the full council on February 16, 2015.

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